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On August 28, 2012 Cater was one of six Des Moines Police Department to free three young people from a burning SUV.: John Carter

John Carter
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Company/ Affiliation:
Des Moines Police Department

John Carteris a disaster preparedness consultant and a Reserve Officer for the Des Moines Police Department. 
On August 28, 2011 Carter was one of six officers who fought flames, glass and twisted metal to pull three young people from a burning SUV. 
A three-minute video from a patrol cars dashboard camera shows officers risking their lives as they responded to the crash, which threw the SUV onto its side at the intersection of Southeast 14 and Hartford streets in Des Moines. The video shows flames shooting out of the vehicles undercarriage as officers’ work from the top and rear to free passengers. Other officers empty multiple fire extinguishers onto the car as the flames continue to grow. 
The accident was caused by a drunk driver, which killed one of the four occupants of the vehicle. 
Carter and the other officers were awarded the Medal of Valor by the Des Moines Police Department in December 2011. 
Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds honored Carter and the other five officers on November 8, 2012 with the 2012 Sullivan Brothers'' Award of Valor. Established in 1977, the Sullivan Brothers'' Award of Valor is awarded to peace officers and firefighters who, while serving in an official capacity, distinguished themselves by the performance of a heroic act in excess of normal demands of service where the person was fully aware of the threat to his/her personal safety. 
 John Carter grew up in Grinnell, Iowa and graduated from Grinnell Public High School.

John wrote the following for us to share with you today:

I am honored to be inducted into the Iowa Transportation Museum’s Transportation Heroes Center.  When I look at the distinguished members of this group, I am truly humbled to see those who have also been honored.  From the now famous Al Haynes to the Knoxville teenagers who helped evacuate their fellow students, all of the inductees are true examples of people being in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right thing.

My experiences as a Reserve Officer for the Des Moines Police Department have allowed me to fulfill two of my passions – volunteering, and helping people.  I have served as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic, and I have been deployed on numerous missions as the Planning Section Chief for the IA-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.  I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to be able to volunteer for my community and my country.

The incident for which I am being honored was a great example of people working together to achieve a common goal.  Officers Aaron Cawthorn, Robin Swank, Colin Boone, Jeremy Sprague, Sergeant Mike McTaggart, and I all found ourselves in a position that all officers dread – a position where someone’s life can hang in the balance of your actions.  Working together, we were able to help three people survive a vehicle crash and fire.

I have received several awards for this incident.  Although I do not consider myself a hero, I do notice that I more often take time to see the heroes that are all around us.  People that make our communities better, keep us safe, and make life easier for those who are less fortunate. 

Thank you for this honor.

  With great honor we recognize John Carter as a Hero of Valor. Accepting the award on behalf of John are his parents, Jerry and Shirley Carter.

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